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Why the project received HANDMADE support
HANDMADE highlights and supports ongoing development: new perspectives, new approaches to the material and new ideas about what is possible
HANDMADE is craftwork that is rediscovered and reinterpreted for a new era
HANDMADE – co-operation is the key to even better results and artistic development

This is where the past and future combine. The starting-point for the project is to spread knowledge of birch bark, in both the harvesting and use of the material. Birch bark is an iconic Nordic material for utility use. In recent years, several artists, artisans and designers from a younger generation have created innovative projects based on birch bark. However, due to the shortage of materials and lack of possibilities for economically sustainable production, the projects ceased once the objects had been exhibited.

This project creates a unique exchange of knowledge between the Nordic countries and Russia. A skilled and energetic network will be formed, which will have an opportunity to make a difference. The aim is to organise work meetings, lectures and conversations in Sweden, Finland and Norway.

Applicant’s project description:

Birch bark is a versatile and environmentally-friendly material that is durable, flexible, moisture-resistant and antibacterial. Thanks to its functional properties, birch bark been used as a storage material in the Nordic countries for thousands of years. But the knowledge transfer and accessibility of the material is now under threat throughout the Nordic region. Knowledge of how to harvest birch bark, so-called birchcraft, is today the preserve of just a few individuals in the Nordic countries. Birch bark should be harvested during a period of a few weeks around midsummer, when it produces sap. This knowledge needs to be disseminated and systematised.

We will dive into the material of birch bark and bring together designers and craftspeople to develop new expressions and areas of application for birch. We wish to work with knowledge transfer between birch experts and future craftspeople and designers. There is also a need for knowledge transfer between designers and craftspeople concerning different methods and ways of thinking about new areas of use, target groups, communication and economically sustainable production.

AIMS

  • To work across borders within the Nordic region to strengthen birch bark as a traditional cultural heritage, and to develop it as future design material.
  • To take advantage of each other’s knowledge and jointly see and develop local possibilities.
  • To develop new forms of birch bark objects, with the focus on economic sustainability.
  • To create a network of persons who are interested in birch bark, and thereby spread and strengthen the knowledge and possibilities across national borders.
  • To work for the regeneration of knowledge of birch bark working and birchcraft in younger generations.
  • To increase knowledge of how and when birch bark should be harvested, and explore and increase access to local birch.

GOALS

  • To create new encounters and exchange knowledge with people in the other Nordic countries and Russia who have strong birch craftwork traditions, and at the same time share similar problems concerning the survival of the craft.
  • To build up common knowledge about how birch bark can live on as a material for future craft and design, and on how access to local birch can be improved.
  • To rediscover the craft and reinterpret it for a new era.

PARTNERS